Archive for December, 2021


Sunday, December 19th, 2021

This week the funding of New Zealand sport in 2022 was announced. Swimwatch has often made the point that the administration of the funding of sport in New Zealand is corrupt. What drugs were to the East German regime, money is to New Zealand sport. In my opinion Castle promotes bad behaviour. Her distribution of cash encourages lying, cheating, deception, assault and now death. Let’s go through a few decisions made in relation to the 2022 funding announcement to see what I mean.


Cycling has been given the second highest amount paid to a sport. At $5,169,000 cycling will receive 12% of the total funding paid to all 48 sports. And for what? In 2021 cycling demonstrated corruption beyond belief. For example:

  1. It lied to a government inquiry.
  2. It made secret hush money payments to participants in those lies.
  3. The staff turnover has been stunning. The CEO has gone, three senior coaches have disappeared. This is not a stable organisation.
  4. A senior coach was playing musical beds with a cyclist on overseas trips.
  5. It cheated at the Olympic Games
  6. It has created an environment that contributed to the death of one of its most senior members

And what did Castle think of all that? She rewarded cycling as the second most worthy sport in the country. It tells us all we need to know about Castle’s standards. It sends a terrible message to the rest of New Zealand sport. Castle should be sacked for that decision alone. But cycling is not alone.

Canoe Racing

Castle has rewarded Canoe Racing with a 16% increase in funding to $2,582,000 – the 4th highest amount paid to a New Zealand sport.  

And this is the sport that is clearly in the process of conducting a witch hunt against a fine New Zealand athlete because he complained to the Minister of Sport. The comments Canoe Racing are using to hang Thompson were allegedly made in 1998 and 2014. Those attacking Thompson are the ones who should be called to account. But instead, Castle rewards them with an additional $425,000.

I see Castle makes grand announcements about the appointment of welfare officers. What a joke. When a man like Thompson is under unjustified assault and Castle gives his assailants additional money, all the welfare in the world won’t fix that. Not when the boss is leading the corruption. If welfare and justice mean so much to you Ms. Castle, do something about it today. Clear up the Thompson case before it is too late.

Swimming New Zealand

Swimming New Zealand will receive a lift in funding of $185,000 to $1,168,000. That is certainly not for looking after the welfare of its members. The sport spent a week last year before the Human Rights Review Tribunal answering questions about that very subject.

We have not yet received the Tribunal’s decision. However, what we do know is that included in the evidence was a letter from a North Shore Hospital specialist that said the following.

Mr Wright has suffered from high blood pressure for some years. Blood pressure is affected by many factors including emotional stress.  The accusations made will have stressed him. Showing him a report that clears him can only help ease the stress and should help with his blood pressure management.

Yours sincerely,

Renal Fellow North Shore Hospital

So, there you have it, emotional stress and a serious life-threatening illness. And do you know the care or concern Mr. Wright was shown by Swimming New Zealand? None. But do you know what, Ms. Castle thought that was just fine. In fact, she rewarded those who did not give a toss about welfare with an additional $185,000. No one should talk to me about Raelene Castle’s concern for welfare. Not when actions paid for with her money could well have shortened my life.


Rowing has managed to keep its nose clean through 2021. It has certainly been rewarded in the 2022 funding round. The 2022 payment of $7,988,000 is an increase of $1,586,000. It lifts rowing to New Zealand’s best paid sport, receiving a huge 18.5% of all the total money paid.

But rowing has not always been free of scandal. In recent years there has been public information on the following welfare issues.

  1. Eric Murray had a real problem asking for permission to return home for the birth of his first child prior to the 2011 World Championships. That dispute resulted in the resignation of Rowing High Performance Manager, Alan Cotter.
  2. Elite coach Tonks had a falling out when he left Rowing New Zealand after his link with a Chinese crew was questioned by the governing body.
  3. Emma Twigg received no government funding in 2015 because of her decision to accept a one-year post-graduate FIFA Master course in management, law and humanities of sport, taught across universities in Leicester, Milan and Neuchatel.
  4.  Rowing New Zealand boss Craig Ross used grants from charities to buy skiffs offshore after he had undertaken to buy local. His convictions were overturned as a result of a High Court appeal.
  5. Several promising high school rowers have accepted full scholarships to American Ivy League Universities. Rowing New Zealand has harshly treated this treason.

Once again Sport New Zealand money has promoted a culture of self-entitled greed that is wrong and unnecessary. John Walker, Rod Dixon and Nick Willis can run a mile successfully without that corruption. Valerie Adams and Tom Walsh are better than average at shot put without damaging the welfare of others. The presence of Castle and her money is bad. Dozens of inquiries have investigated rowing, swimming, canoeing, and cycling. All have avoided the real issue – Sport New Zealand and its CEO, Raelene Castle.

Oh, Castle will make cosmetic changes like appointing a welfare officer here and there but will avoid the root cause of the corruption. This is not where she wants to go at all. Because if she does, the issue will be how fit is she to do the job? Sadly, for New Zealand sport the answer to that question is clear.  


Saturday, December 18th, 2021

Thanks to Zoe George at Stuff, we are being kept up to date with the chaos at Cycling New Zealand (CNZ). Like the good journalist she is, George reports the facts without emotive spin. It is for others like Swimwatch to provide an opinion bias.

Facts and opinion are important. Facts because they tell us what happened. Despite Trump’s efforts there are no “alternative facts”. Good journalists know that distinction and observe it well. But opinion matters as well. Facts do not speak for themselves. Assuming people hold accurate factual beliefs, they must still interpret them, that is, determine the significance of these facts to arrive at moral judgments. Is a 0.7% decrease in funding cosmetic or a significant change of policy. Only when people interpret facts can those facts influence their opinions.

And so here is a list of facts George has provided us today. Under each fact is the Swimwatch spin.

Fact One – Cycling is expected to receive $5.169m per year a cut of $35,000 from the 2021 funding.

That fact is entirely cosmetic. The reduction is close to the amount CNZ put in a paper bag to pay Olivia Podmore for her silence. That is an expense CNZ has saved itself this year. The cut of 0.6% means nothing.

Fact Two – Cycling New Zealand lost its principal sponsor APL 

Name me a self-respecting company that would not have pulled its sponsorship. In the last twelve months CNZ has lied to New Zealand, has made hush-money payments, has allowed a culture of musical beds, has cheated at the Olympic Games, has had a staff turnover enough to make your head spin and has been party to the death of one of its best athletes. That is not a sport. That is a badly run New Orleans’s bordello from the 1860s. Only Raelene Castle would see that as a sound investment for another $5million. It is ironic that the same person who sacked Israel Folau for speaking his mind on homosexuals, rewards a New Zealand sporting cesspit with $5million.

Fact Three – Raelene Castle said the funding for Cycling NZ is conditional on the outcomes of the review.

No, it is not. Castle doesn’t want to answer difficult questions so kicks them down the road until after the investigation. Let us wait and see. Remember what Castle said and let’s see what she does.

Fact Four – Castle indicated funding could be shifted around based on the outcomes of the review.

What does “shifted around” mean. There are two principal categories within cycling – community and high performance. Does it mean Castle will demand more is spent on community cycling? Is she going to build the Auckland Harbour Bridge cycling clip-on? Within high performance there are four sub-categories – track, road, BMX and mountain bike. Track gets the lion’s share of the money just now. Perhaps BMX is in for a boost.

But the real issue in “Fact Four” is micro-management. Sport New Zealand’s job is to distribute the government’s money. It is NOT to micro-manage how it is spent. Castle is sticking her nose into stuff way beyond her area of expertise. Next thing we know the Cambridge cycling coaches will be waiting for Castle’s email telling them their weekly track schedules. Believe me, the same thing happened in swimming. Eventually the sport dies from bureaucratic paralysis.  

Fact Five – “There will be a well-being discussion inside that sport, as there is inside all our major sports

Anyone who believes that Castle make-believe, I have a bridge to sell them in Arizona. Does anyone believe CNZ is sitting around immersed in the finer points of Olivia Podmore’s death. Press conference after press conference comes and goes without a mention of Olivia’s name. Castle’s contribution to athlete well-being is to put Olivia’s death as far into Sport New Zealand’s past as possible. Castle is desperate to avoid the Podmore spotlight being trained on her.

Does anyone believe Swimming New Zealand have spent any Board time analysing my serious health problems? And yet they have a hospital specialist’s letter that says Swimming New Zealand could well be responsible.

Is anyone at Canoe Racing New Zealand concerned about Alan Thompson’s welfare? Of course not. How to get him out of the sport is their only concern.

Castle’s commentary should be recognised for what it is – old fashioned BS.

Fact Six – “Even when sports are in difficult times that we ensure the sport, and ultimately the athletes, get the support that they need,” she said.

The two-faced hypocrisy of that is beyond belief. Is Alan Thompson getting the support he needs? Did I get the support I needed? What support did Castle give Olivia Podmore? Did Israel Folau get Castle’s support? No of course not. Her organisations hunt with the hounds and run with the hares. You certainly would not want Castle lost with you in the bush on a dark, wet night. Remember it was her organisation that ultimately paid an athlete to lie to New Zealand. The ring of helping in difficult times sounds very hollow indeed.

Fact Seven – The people we are trying to protect, are protected and in an environment that’s really supportive. We need to make sure they can continue to train.”

If there is any truth in that outrageous claim, then Raelene Castle, do something about the public execution of one of New Zealand’s finest athletes. Alan Thompson does not deserve the disgusting accusations being made against him. Castle, you were happy to payoff Olivia with $20,000. You have rewarded cycling’s cesspit with an additional $5million. You voided Folau’s contract with a multi-million deal – surely Alan Thompson deserves justice.

We are about to see where Castle’s priorities really lie.    

Fact Eight – Six months from the Commonwealth Games, Castle said cycling will send one of its largest teams ever. It was really critical we give them the support.

Castle has been sipping the Sport New Zealand cool aid. The sport is in trouble, so send a huge team to the next Games and plead the case for more money to pay for its preparation. Never mind about have you resolved why Olivia Podmore died? Never mind why did you pay her a paper bag full of dollar bills hush money? Never mind why did you lie to the last cycling inquiry? Never mind why did you cheat at the last Olympic Games?

Many might accuse Swimwatch of spin – an accusation we accept. However, the spin from Castle and Sport New Zealand is way beyond anything we could dream up.


Friday, December 17th, 2021

Just like swimming did six years ago, Cycling New Zealand (CNZ) closed the hub portion of its centralised training programme this week. The beginning of the end has arrived. However, the stupidity of the wasted millions is meaningless compared to the crass ignorance of those in charge of CNZ and Sport New Zealand. They are revolting people who have no place in a civilised society.

For example, this is what CNZ’s CEO said when he announced the hub’s closure. I have reprinted it in bold to stress the extent of Landry’s (CEO of CNZ) and Castle’s (CEO of Sport New Zealand) depravity:

“Post the Tokyo Games, we have experienced many hurdles – one of the biggest being funding challenges,”

How could Castle approve an announcement like that? How could Landry send it to the media? Do they have no conscious? Is there nothing they would not do to hold onto power? In what sort of zoo do they belong?

How could they stress the difficulties of money in a six-month period when, in my opinion, they are both open to the accusation of participating in the death of one of their best competitors? What are their priorities? Money or human life? In this case we have it in black and white – money wins.

For CNZ to hold a press conference that does not first recognize the brutality that killed Olivia is beyond belief. Clearly Landry and Castle have decided to move on. Olivia’s death has had its time. Now it is back to business as usual. I ask again – in what sort of zoo do they belong?

That attitude repeated a thousand times for 20 years killed Podmore, destroyed swimming and cycling and is now attempting to ruin the life of a New Zealand double canoeing Gold Medallist. If the great hand of God was to go down as far as it could and lift Landry and Castle up as high as it could, they would still be below the bottom.

Nothing should be described as a greater challenge than Podmore’s life. To put money ahead of resolving the issues around her death is depravity beyond measure.   

Not that the priorities of New Zealand sport should surprise anyone. Readers may remember the day after Olivia Podmore’s death, Castle and Landry called a press conference. Someone asked Landry what were the issues that caused him concern. He strenuously replied that the effect on his staff was his major concern. Seemingly as an afterthought he added, “and Olivia’s family and friends”. But the moment had passed. Landry’s mates had taken priority over the victim.

And then last night money was Landry’s priority. No wonder Podmore’s mother has not heard from Landry or CNZ since the death of her daughter. Who needs to talk to the mother when there are mates, money and me to take care of? That guy should not be allowed to leave New Zealand until he answers in full for his actions. But you wait and see – Raelene Castle will let him go. The quicker Castle can replace anyone associated with Podmore, the less attention will be focused on her. Castle knows full well the value of out of sight, out of mind.  

Because, in my view, a boss with integrity would have resigned already. The lies told by CNZ, the hush-money payments, the culture of musical beds, the cheating at the Olympic Games and a death linked to the sport would be enough to see a responsible decent person fall on their sword. Have we seen any sign of Castle leaving? No of course not. Hell will freeze over before Castle acts with dignity and honour. Not when there are mates, money and me to take care of.

With some justification New Zealand has taken pride in its world ranking for honesty. In 2021 New Zealand was ranked the world’s 5th most honest nation. In business, politics, bureaucracy New Zealanders value their word. There is little place for Machiavellian philosophy in New Zealand life.

The exception is the administration of sport. In that area of New Zealand life Machiavelli is alive and well. I am not talking about those who play the game. They follow the rest of the country for honesty and respect for fair play. The administration of sport especially at the top, is riven with deception. Machiavelli said, “Politics have no relation to morals.” In New Zealand that is not true. If he had said, “Senior sport’s administration has no relation to morals,” we could have agreed. And our proof would be there for all to see in the behaviour of Ms. Castle’s empire.


Wednesday, December 15th, 2021

Over and over again I have made the point that the dysfunction of New Zealand sport is the result of Sport New Zealand policies initiated by Peter Miskimmin and carried on by Raelene Castle. And this week we have another example.

Just to be clear it is not the sports that have a problem. It is policies prepared by bureaucrats in Wellington. They do not work. They cause damage. They kill people. Centralised training for example. If East Germany and Soviet Russia could not make that policy work why on earth did Miskimmin think that his Level 1 office in the Harbour City Centre would be any different. And why does Raelene Castle hang on to the same expensive failure from the same expensive office. They say intelligence is the ability to learn. Wow, with this lot you have to wonder.

But back to this week’s news.

In December 2014 Simon Plumb reported the following on Stuff News.

 Dysfunction deepens at Swimming New Zealand, with half the high-performance coaching staff set to be axed in yet another overhaul of the Crown’s beleaguered Olympic investment. Gary Hurring and Kelly Bentley, who run the Wellington high-performance system, are the other two coaches affected.

And that was it. A few weeks later Gary Hurring was gone. The coaching hub system had been dismantled and swimming was in a far worse position than when Miskimmin first put his greasy mits on a successful sport. The loss of Gary Hurring was especially harsh. He is a superb coach and was cast adrift in the most heartless manner imaginable. I wonder how many swimming champions were lost when Swimming New Zealand rode roughshod over Hurring’s career.   

However, not content with the destruction of swimming, Sport New Zealand decided it would do the same thing to cycling. This time though they not only destroyed the sport, they killed one of its best competitors.

Here is what Zoe George reported in Stuff in December 2021

The upheaval at Cycling New Zealand continues, as the organisation closes four major development performance hubs, putting the future of upcoming cyclists in doubt.

Performance hub staff were told of the decision to close the doors last week. The hubs in Invercargill, Christchurch, Cambridge and Auckland are the ones to close. 

The Southern Hub, based at the SIT Velodrome, produced more than 15 national champions lead coach Sid Cumming. Cumming said the hub has been successful in developing talent and is “very disappointed” by the closures. “I thought we were doing a good job and all the reports say we were doing a good job,” he said.

So, there we have it. Two different sports. Two different journalists. Seven years apart almost to the day. The same story almost word for word. Now tell me Sport New Zealand knows what it is doing. Their policy “is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury; signifying nothing.” Their problem is this time their nothing killed a fine New Zealander.

It is acutely relevant to ask, whose turn will it be in 2027; rowing or snow sports or athletics – who knows? What 14-year-old, still in high school, is being groomed by Sport New Zealand to die in an effort to satisfy their policy demands, to justify their obscene money, to meet their always impossible and always selfish goals.

Some of us listened in horror to the German Court cases that followed the collapse of the Berlin Wall. But are we all that different? Was Peter Miskimmin’s policy any better? Does Raelene Castle know what her organisation is doing? Do they care?

Here, for example is a story of an East German shot-put champion, Heidi Krieger. All I have done is change the location to New Zealand, change her name to Olive and the drugs supplied by East Germany to Sport New Zealand’s money.  

Olive is eleven when she discovers a fun pastime: athletics. Things like that don’t go unnoticed in New Zealand. A selection and training system refined to perfection monitors school children to determine who’s good at what sport. Shot-put and discus throw are the two little Olive might be famous for one day.

Olive knows the deal: being successful in sports equals being successful in life. And so, she practices and practices until at fourteen she’s admitted to the athletics centralised program for talented children, managed by the of powerful sports club in Auckland, which is funded by Sport New Zealand. Olive practices weightlifting, discus throw, and shot-put every day. It’s tough, but her coach provides money that means she can rent an apartment, buy food and a car and go out with her friends once a week. Follow Sport New Zealand’s rules and she will even receive a $20,000 Christmas bonus. Her life is bought and paid for by the state. Harder and harder they push. Their demands that she must save Athletics New Zealand are overwhelming

At 21, Olive wins the gold medal for shot-put at the Paris Olympic Games. She throws the shot 22.01 meters. Olive is a success. But Olive will soon be gone. After years of depression, uncertainty, and suicidal tendencies, she has decided to end it all.

Well done Sport New Zealand. Well done Raelene Castle.   


Wednesday, December 15th, 2021

Massey University will soon make a massive contribution to New Zealand literature. The annual, “Best New Zealand Quotes” is about to be decided. For some reason 2021 has been a fertile year for the contest. New Zealanders are very good in all sorts of fields. Sharp-witted humor is not one of them. British comedy for example is in a class of its own. However, in 2021 we are clearly getting better.

There are ten finalists. I’ve shown my favorite four below.

“It is a challenge in high density areas for people to get outside and spread their legs.” Covid-19 response minister Chris Hipkins’ slip of the tongue.

“He is about as exciting as the Taihape public toilets.” Commentator Mike Williams on Christopher Luxon.

“That was a bed-time fail.” Jacinda Ardern after daughter Neve interrupts her Facebook live.

“No, it’s a f–ing goat.” Toddler mimicking her mum’s description of a goat in her garden.

And so, I voted today for, “He is about as exciting as the Taihape public toilets.” It describes the new leader of the National Party, Christopher Luxon, perfectly. The clever addition of the word “about” successfully ranks the toilets ahead of Luxon in their personality contest. That also is true. Perhaps Luxon’s sense of humour has been surgically removed.

I have used the Taihape toilets during journeys between Auckland and Wellington. It is a facility not to be underrated. Three cubicles for women and three for men and one for “unisex”. That is Taihape’s effort to be inclusive. It is all quite posh actually. Perhaps not black Mercedes posh but it offers more stability than the leader of the National Party.  

Like Luxon the toilets have their own unique webpage. Unlike Luxon the toilets webpage begins with some helpful advice.


I kid you not. Take a moment to look it up. I doubt Luxon’s website offers that sort of helpful guidance. They say the best humour portrays events that are at least partly true. That is the case here. The toilets are more exciting. They attract a more diverse cross-section of New Zealand society – from Kimbolton farmers who leave their utes running outside to the trendy Wellington set on their way to ski Ruapehu. From soldiers having a night away from their Waiouru base, to the mechanic that repaired one of my tyres. The Taihape toilets are an inclusive and democratic tent. If Luxon could offer half their appeal or attract half their trade he would certainly be New Zealand’s next Prime Minister. Sadly, he just does not have the same charisma.

You see, people need to feel better as a result of their contact with greatness. Taihape’s toilets offer warmth, relief and security. And their appeal is universal. Anyone can take part. The Taihape toilets have a skilful purpose way beyond anything Luxon can offer.

However, a word of warning. In these COVID times, I want to avoid a rush of visitors to Taihape. Serious consequences could follow a tourist boom. Two reasons: there is a toilet paper shortage in New Zealand. Taihape is not exempt from the problem. So, avoid panic use. And second: please observe this internet warning.       

The public toilets on Tui Street, Taihape will be soon be undergoing maintenance. The men’s and women’s toilets will be closed on the following days: Men’s from 9am Tuesday 14 December until 5pm. Women’s from 9am Wednesday 15 December until 5pm. During these closures the unisex accessible toilet will still be available for use.

You may find Luxon with legs crossed, waiting outside, during these times. As leader of the National Party, he could never use the unisex toilet. That would be far too much excitement.